South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings has responded to the Government’s announcement of the Provisional Police Grant, which sets out the force-level allocations of central Government funding for 2019/20.

The Government is enabling Police and Crime Commissioners to increase the council tax precept by up to £24 for the coming year (or £2 per month) for a Band D property. The amount raised from council tax precept, along with the money provided by the Government in the form of grant funding is what makes up the annual budget of each police force.

Dr Alan Billings, said: “A little more money is available for policing and services for victims next year, but only if Police and Crime Commissioners put the precept up by £24 on a Band D property – double what they were allowed this year.

“This approach continues the Government’s policy of putting the burden of paying for policing increasingly onto local council tax payers.

“The government is in danger of trying to set the precept nationally when this should be a wholly local decision.

“However, this approach means that paying for policing falls disproportionately on those of us who live in predominantly urban areas where there is most crime, and particularly those poorer parts of the country where the yield from council tax is low because most properties are in Bands A and B.

“But, the government has recognised the need to give some assistance for funding police pensions.

“With serious crime rising, we need more police officers if we are to keep communities safe. We shall try in South Yorkshire to increase the number of officers in neighbourhood teams because the public know that this is a vital way of gaining the local intelligence needed to combat organised crime.

“Over the next few weeks I will be asking South Yorkshire residents whether they are prepared to pay for a modest uplift in police numbers.”

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will be consulting with South Yorkshire residents on the proposed increase in the coming weeks and will then present a proposed budget and recommended council tax precept increase to the Police and Crime Panel in February 2019.